He who loved the Word (Part 8)

Psalm 119:45-48

Last week we studied the first half of the Hebrew letter Vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and we had the four titles namely, God’s Strength is Love Divine, Back Talk, Secure the Word and then lastly Everlasting Obedience. Let’s continue with the second part:

45. THE FREEDOM ROAD (verse 45)

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”
Every one is seeking freedom these days. We hear it in the streets, we see it splashed about in the newspapers and on billboards. Freedom is the state of being free from the state of slavery and bondage. We have to be very careful about what we take to be freedom. Is it freedom within a set of rules and regulations, or is it complete freedom to do just as we please anytime and anywhere, without being responsible for our actions. Is it freedom to ride just where we want to, on the pavement, on the wrong side of the road, as fast or as slow as we like, in the middle of the town or not? Does freedom mean that I may walk into your house whenever I feel like it and eat your food and help myself to your belongings?

No! Definitely not. There has to be some set of rules and regulations as a boundary for such freedom. Some people advocate anarchy in our land, ie, that we are to have no government at all, that the people are to rule it as they wish. This would just lead to absolute chaos and loss of life. The opposite of freedom within a set of rules and regulations is slavery, where the slave has no rights of his own. He is absolutely under the control of his master and has no right to answer back or give his or her opinion. The possessions a slave may own is just about nothing. When a slave is set free into a society where there is still freedom within a peaceful government, he feels like a bird set free from a small cage into the wide open skies.

A wonderful example about being set free is in the Old Testament Book of Isa. 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God.”

In Ezekiel 46:17, “If, however, he makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant may keep it until the year of freedom, then it will revert back to the prince. His inheritance belongs to his sons only; it is theirs.” The whole of Lev. 25 as well as Lev. 27 deals with the year of Jubilee. We won’t be able to deal with it here this morning but in essence it deals with the Sabbatical Year, ie, every 50th year (7 periods of 7 years each) when all debts had to be released and all slaves set free. This is an over-simplification, but it really deals with atonement and redemption. Jesus came to this world to set free from the oppression of Satan those who would but receive Him as Lord and Saviour. One huge difference though between Jesus’ freedom and that at the Year of Jubilee is that the freedom Jesus offers is permanent. Permanent, that is, as long as you place yourself in His protection and authority. Have you entered in to that Sabbatical rest with Jesus?

46. SPEAK THE WORD (verse 46)

“I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame.”
The Psalmist is saying here that he will not be afraid to spread the word of God to all about him, no matter in what company he will be in. He will be a true witness, one who has first hand evidence in his life about the working of God. Proverbs 14:25, “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.” Talking about witnessing Peter, in 1 Peter 3:14-16 had this to say, “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Here we are told that when we witness for Jesus we must not be bombastic about it as some tend to do. A bombastic and insensitive way just chases others away from the Saviour.

We are also to witness at times when we think that it would offend others or when we think that it is not the right time. To Timothy Paul said these encouraging words, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” Listener, are you telling others about Jesus and what He has done for you in your life? Even better, are you leading others into the Kingdom of God with Jesus as their Lords? As a Christian this is one our major objectives.

When we witness for Jesus about Jesus and his love for the sinner then we are not ashamed of the gospel. It may happen that some of our friends feel ashamed when we witness to others in their presence. Don’t let that worry you. It is what God thinks of us that is the telling factor. Jesus said in Mark 8:38, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Do we want Jesus to be ashamed of us on that day?

47 LOVE FOR THE WORD (verse 47)

“For I delight in your commands because I love them.”
God is Love, and Jesus is also called the Word. What is the Word to us? It is of course the standard set for us. It is the standard against which we will be judged on the Day of Judgment. The statutes, or law or rules and regulations were read to the children of Israel at all the great gatherings. It was for Public Reading, ie, for the Israelites as well as for the foreigners that were present at the time. The Word was also to be searched to find out what God had for them. The Word of the Lord is also something very special in that it is the Pure Word of God.

King David said these words in Psalm 12:6, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” There are many in the Scriptures that told of their love for the Word of the Lord. Job said in Job 23:12, “I have not departed from the commands of his (God’s) lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Job had been under the most terrible trials, yet he could still say that he had not rejected God. All the time he had treasured the things of God in his heart.

I remember when I first accepted the Lord Jesus as my Saviour while on a business trip in the Transkei (South Africa)just before it went independent. It was in a small town called Encobo and the first thing that happened to me was that I wanted to read the Bible.. I had a terrible hunger for God’s Word, but I had to wait two weeks [only Zulu and Xhosa Bibles in Encobo] until I arrived in East London and just before boarding the plane for home I managed to buy a Bible  in one of the Book Shops [Red Letter KJV authorized version – the best translation ever and the most reliable – and still in daily use]. That was in June 1976 and I was oblivious of the stares about me as I read the Bible at the Airport Lounge and then all the way back in the plane.My love for the Word of God has not abated in all these years. In fact it gets stronger by the year. How is your love for the Word of God? Are you still reading it daily and letting it fill your heart to overflowing?

48. UPLIFTED HANDS (verse 48)

“I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.”
What does uplifted hands really stand for? Why is it that people spontaneously lift up their hands when they are in the presence of their favourite singer, etc? To lift is to take something and elevate it to a much higher position. Fans of the singer, by lifting their hands and swaying them in the air is an act of lifting that singer up into a high position, a position of an idol. Rugby enthusiasts, at a major rugby match stand up and wave their hands in the air and go mad when a try is on the way or has been placed! I find nothing wrong with that at a rugby match. But what I do not understand is that when Christians sing their adoration of Jesus, of God and of the Holy Spirit and lift their hands in adoration to our God, that other Christians condemn them for doing so, yet the previous day they had lifted their hands to the person going for the try!

All through the Scriptures we find the believers lifting their hands to God. Lifting hands also means surrender to the Kind of Kings and Lord of Lords. Lifting hands is a sign that there are no dangerous weapons in their hands, they are coming in peace! The shaking of hands even today is from an age-old custom of letting the other know he has no knife or sword in his hand. Both hands in the hands signifies no weapon in ANY hand. Right from Gen. 14:22 we read of Abraham lifting up his hands to his God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. King David in Psalm 63:4 said, “I will praise you as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” David couples lifting up of hands with praise for the Lord. In Psalm 134:2 the Psalmist says, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” What better instructions have we for lifting up our hands in the church building while we praise Jesus and His goodness to us?

If you have never lifted up your hands before, in praise of the Saviour, then start doing so in the privacy of your own home during your quiet time. It may at first seem strange to you, but God will bless you for it, for you will be lifting up your hands up to the coming King, the King of Glory, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

[We will leave Psalm 119 for a while and continue at a later date]